Across the Atlantic: Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic

After Chino Grinder I was able to spend two solid weeks at my adopted home of Colorado Springs. I was really looking forward to this time before boarding another plane to head to Europe. I hadn’t gotten to spend much time in the springs since I left in early March. There was a down side… The weather was horrible! Rain everyday and massive amounts of hail. 

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Emily was eagerly awaiting my arrival when I landed and surprised me with a delicious, made from scratch, Bobka! Sometime during the two weeks she managed to fit in a dog sitting gig and boy was this guy something else. Everyone, meet Gus. You can’t miss him. 150lbs Great Dane and cuddly as a bear. 

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I spent the first few days recovering from the hole I had dug at Chino. Then once I gave Jim the ok, he wasted no time in lining a big training block to whip me into world cup shape, fast. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get to have any fun though… I bought Russell’s old moto so we went out and had some fun on Captain Jacks, which just reopened up to motos. 

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The weather was bad the whole two weeks I was there and I left the house expecting to get rained on everyday. Always avidly checking the hourly weather updates, going outside and looking at the clouds, and watching the radar.

With a good block of training in I was ready to go! The only thing missing was my carbon full suspension frame, which I picked up Monday from Boulder. James Sullivan, my Raleigh-Clement team mechanic, was on top it! He did a last minute build for me to bring it home and put it in a bike bag. I told him not to worry about tightening any bolts because it was going to be disassembled and reassembled before I even rode it. The good thing is that the geometry was exactly the same as my aluminum skarn so I was not sweating the lack of set up on the new frame at all.

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Monday I had to take Emily to the airport. She was hoping a plane to the east coast to take on the Transylvania Epic. Then Tuesday I took off and Wednesday touched down in Prague. Marc and I were on the same flight and we met up with the USAC crew, Michel, Jan, and Julia, at the airport before heading to Nove Mesto and the Hotel Romantika for the 4th year in a row.

Everyone else also arrived on Wednesday but a bit sporadically so we all united at the Hotel that evening.  

I spent the next couple days trying to overcome jet lag and get my sleep schedule back under control. A freshly roasted bag of Switchback Coffee from the springs aided me in that battle. 

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Shayna was the only one racing Saturday and all the other races were Sunday. Unfortunately, a cold was starting to creep up on her and she didn’t have the best race. Kate was another USA contender and raced her way to a podium finish, kicking off the world cup campaign with gusto. I was jealous Saturday night because the race was behind her while everyone else waiting, in anticipation, for the storm. 

Keegan and Cypress raced at 9am on Sunday morning. Howie, who didn’t stay with us finished up 6th in the U23 race just 1min off the pace, and he suffered a flat! I have him pinned for the win at Albstadt. 

Chloe was our sole elite woman in USAC kit and she represented well! Finished up 21st with a strong ride. Georgia Gould was 18th and Lea Davidson smashed in a 7th place!

Now it was our turn. Stephen, Russell, Spencer Paxson, David Flatten, Cole Oberman, and myself were lined up for USAC. I was 96 call up so I had my work cut out for me. Cole and David were 145 &146 or so, therefore, I knew it could be a lot worse! Also, the start lap was good for moving up if you had the legs. 

Bang! The gun and the cranks turned. I felt pretty good off the line and the start wasn’t too sketchy. I was able to move up and come through the start loop in 65th, which I was pumped about because I finished 62nd last year. However, I kind of hit a lag and spent the next three laps in that position. I just could make the move to the groups higher up. The last three laps of the race I was able to turn it on a little bit but the group was more spread out by then and my efforts didn’t allow me to make up too much ground. 

I came into the last lap gunning for a spot of 53 or so. I poured it on towards the end of the lap and gassed myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t cause a lot of separation from the group I was in and the few guys I tried to put in the pain cave caught me by the finish straight. I guess they were sitting back and watching my fireworks show earlier in the lap. Then when it came to the sprint they had a bit more in the tank and I ended up 58th. 

I was pretty happy with that result. More happy with how I felt during the race. Stephen had a good go and finished up 21, which was great. Spencer also had a decent race and ended up in the 60’s. Russell had a rough day after a flat and Cole and David, well, there isn’t much you can do from the 140 call up spot. 

With the race behind me I was ready to get some rest and move on to Germany. My legs were sore and body bruised. I was not looking forward to the 8hr journey to Albstadt. Sitting in a car, stiffening up. However, there was an espresso macchiato in Albstadt with my name on it!

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Nevertheless, we arrived and the weather was a sordid affair. Rainy and chilly. But the show must go on. Stay tuned for the next update. Last year, with Nino and Absalon turning 10.5min lap times, I got pulled 2 laps down. I am hoping they threw in a start loop to help avoid the minute and a half standing in the bottle neck at the first single track.

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